will.i.am, Maroon5, and Baauer

Popular Music Celebrity Endorsements in Food and Nonalcoholic Beverage Marketing

Image credits: will.i.am, Maroon5, and Baauer

Food and beverage marketing has been associated with childhood obesity. In a descriptive study published in Pediatrics, the authors quantified the number and type of food or beverage brands promoted by music celebrities, assessed the nutritional quality of the products, and examined Teen Choice Award data to assess the celebrities’ popularity among adolescents.

A list of music celebrities associated with the 2013 and 2014 Billboard Hot 100 Chart, which ranks songs according to sales and radio impressions, was compiled. Data on celebrity endorsements were gathered from official company Web sites, YouTube commercials, an advertising database, and media reports. Nutritional quality of foods was assessed according to the Nutrient Profile Index, whereas nonalcoholic beverages were evaluated based on calories from added sugar. Teen Choice Award nominations were used to measure the celebrities’ popularity among adolescents.

Of the 590 endorsements made by the 163 celebrities in the sample, consumer goods (e.g., fragrances, makeup) represented the largest endorsement category (26%), followed by food and beverage (18%) and retail (11%). Sixty-five celebrities were collectively associated with 57 different food and beverage brands owned by 38 parent companies. Of these 65 celebrities, 53 (81.5%) had ≥1 Teen Choice Award nomination. Forty-nine (71%) of the 69 nonalcoholic beverage references promoted sugar-sweetened beverages. Twenty-one (80.8%) of the 26 endorsed foods were energy dense and nutrient poor. Baauer, will.i.am, Justin Timberlake, Maroon 5, and Britney Spears had the most food and beverage endorsements. This study demonstrates that music celebrities who are popular among adolescents endorse energy-dense, nutrient-poor products.

Citation: Bragg MA, Miller AN, Elizee J, et al. Popular Music Celebrity Endorsements in Food and Nonalcoholic Beverage Marketing. Pediatrics.2016;138(1):e20153977